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Porsche could ban out-of-hour emails – but what other companies already have these policies in place?

German carmaker Porsche may soon follow in the footsteps of rivals Daimler and Volkswagen by banning out-of-hours emails for its employees.
Uwe Huck, head of Porsche’s works council and deputy chairman of Porsche’s supervisory board, said the firm's employees should be protected from work-related emails in their free time, and any correspondence between 7pm and 6am should be “returned to sender”.
He told German news agency DPA: “To read and reply to emails from the boss during the evenings is unpaid working time which increases stress — that’s just not acceptable", the FT reported.
A spokesperson for Porsche said: "These are considerations of our workers council, which are in principle worthy of discussion. However, the considerations are at an early stage and the works council and the employers' side are going to talk about it in due course."
Employees have been bombarded with out-of-hours emails ever since the introduction of the BlackBerry in the late Nineties and early Noughties, giving users access to their emails remotely.
The overuse of digital devices has been blamed for people becoming over-worked, stressed and sleep deprived.
Late last year, the French government pledged to tackle the problem formally, by introducing a new law which obliges employers to guarantee their employees the "right to disconnect" out of hours. On January 1 2017, the employment law came into force, forcing organisations with more than 50 workers to start negotiations to define the rights of employees who want to ignore their phones.
Some large firms, such as Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler in Germany, and Areva and Axa in France, have taken matters into their own hands and introduced steps to limit out-of-hours messaging to reduce burnout among workers – although some more reluctantly than others.

Volkswagen


In 2011, Volkswagen agreed to stop its Blackberry servers sending emails to some of its employees when they finished their shifts, following complaints from staff that their work and home lives had become blurred.
Under the rules, emails are only forwarded to company smartphones during a shift and for 30 minutes before and after it. 

Daimler


Daimler, the world’s biggest manufacturer of luxury cars, introduced a mail-blocking policy in 2014 for staff who go on holiday. Anyone who sends an email to someone who is away will receive a "mail on holiday" message that explains that the email has not been received, and provides the contact details of an alternative staff member.
Daimler said its employees were free to decide whether they used the system, but it wouldn't record or penalise those who did.  

Areva


Areva, a French nuclear power company, drew up rules five years ago to encourage workers to disconnect. While there's no mail-blocking in place, and workers can still send emails at night, the company launched an education campaign asking employees not to email between 8pm and 8am, or on their days off.
Porsche could ban out-of-hour emails – but what other companies already have these policies in place?

French employees have been given the 'right to disconnect' from emails out of hours under new laws

Credit:
Oatawa

Axa


French insurance firm Axa no longer requires employees to reply to emails sent outside of office hours.

Atos


In 2011, Thierry Breton, CEO of French technology firm Atos, banned internal email for its 100,000 employees after finding that staff were collectively processing tens of thousands of emails each week, with managers spending up to 20 hours a week reading and writing messages.
Instead, Atos switched to a thread-based social network without notifications, and retrained managers to encourage employees to promote email-free work systems.
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